Magazine article The Spectator

Politicians Boasting about the Women They've Slept with Is Not Candour: It's Spin

Magazine article The Spectator

Politicians Boasting about the Women They've Slept with Is Not Candour: It's Spin

Article excerpt

Another terrible night spent tossing and turning, racked with worry over whether or not I have ever had sex with Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democratic party. It is not something I remember doing and on the face of it, both of us being heterosexual, it seems highly unlikely. But one can never be too sure.

Given Mr Clegg's singularly ectoplasmic tenure as leader of his party it seems to me possible that we may have had some desultory form of intercourse without my even knowing about it. He might have slithered in and then out again, wraith-like, while I was oiling the garden shears in the shed, or reading an interesting book by Will Hutton. The sensible thing to do would be to stop worrying about the whole thing entirely, as it is quite unknowable. Sex with Mr Clegg falls into the category of what Immanuel Kant, in the Critique of Pure Reason, called the noumenon -- that which is not an object of our sensible intuition. Thinking about it, Mr Clegg, per se, may well fall into this category too. I should be worrying about other things at night -- like sausages giving me cancer, or why Morgan Tsvangirai makes me feel a little twitchy, or the ultimate destination of my mortal soul.

Nick Clegg made a decision to reveal his number of sexual partners to a journalist of colossal stupidity and self-absorption, Piers Morgan, in the magazine GQ. Compared to Morgan, the surface tension of a bowl of pea and ham soup possesses both depth and intellectual gravitas. Politicians shouldn't speak to this disgraced butter-faced public-school ape about anything, let alone how many women they've shagged. But he did, which was political miscalculation number one. Perhaps he was simply flattered that GQ had shown an interest. He then quoted a rough figure of '30' before quickly backtracking and insisting that it was certainly somewhat less than this number, although he did not elucidate further. He confessed himself to be a reasonably competent but not especially memorable lover (much as I have intimated above, in fact).

The excuse for this sudden incontinence, this priapic spurt from the confessional, was that these days, apparently, we have a new and welcome openness in our polity. Candour, we are told, is the new spin. You are asked a direct question and you answer it directly, without recourse to rebuttal units putting out a press release saying 'actually it was only 14.65 women he slept with, exactly the national average according to a recent survey in the Observer, and on each occasion the sex was wholly consensual and left his stakeholder partners feeling moderately happy and reasonably fulfilled'. As it happens, Nick Clegg's answer was the sort of answer a spin doctor might well have given; devoid of excessive sexual braggadocio, which none of us find attractive, but displaying a raffish modernity ('30 -- but my latest one is the best!'). But whether candour or spin, whatever way you look at it, there is no answer to the question which would not draw an elongated, pinch-faced 'Eeewwwww, no, please. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.